Skip Navigation Bar
 
Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature

A Writer's Life

Mary Shelley came from a rich literary heritage. She was the daughter of William Godwin, a political theorist, novelist, and publisher who introduced her to eminent intellectuals and encouraged her youthful efforts as a writer; and of Mary Wollstonecraft, a writer and early feminist thinker, who died shortly after her daughter's birth.

At fifteen, Mary met the poet Percy Shelley, who was married at the time. Two years later, she ran off with him to France. They were married in December 1816, two weeks after Percy Shelley's first wife drowned. By then Mary had already borne him two children.

Head and shoulders full face, color painting of Percy Shelley. Courtesy of The Granger Collection, New York.
Percy Shelley.
Courtesy of The Granger Collection, New York.
Head and shoulders, left side pose, full face color painting of Mary Wollstonecraft seated at a desk with an open book in her right hand. Courtesy of The Granger Collection, New York.
Mary Wollstonecraft.
Courtesy of The Granger Collection, New York.
Right profile, head and shoulders color painting of William Godwin. Courtesy of The Granger Collection, New York.
William Godwin.
Courtesy of The Granger Collection, New York.